Running shoes are a runner’s best friend. That’s why you need to know how to properly break in your new running shoes. It can help you avoid soreness early on and might even extend the life of your favorite trainer. that’s all the inspiration you need to start treating your sneakers right!
I know I’m not the only runner who would seriously sleep with my favorite sneakers on my pillow if only I could get them out of the mud. Sometimes it’s almost painful to try on new shoes, when they look so good in the box. We buy them to run, not watch, though, so how do you get the most out of them, especially in those first few miles?
Breaking them in slowly so they stay responsive and comfortable mile after mile. The odds of buying sturdy shoes that can last 1,000 miles are pretty remote, and the brands wouldn’t want us to keep them that long anyway, so after about 400 miles of training you’re going to have to change your trainers. How do you know when the time is right?
Looking for new running shoes? Check out the best running shoes from T3, the best running shoes for women, and the best Nike running shoe guides for inspiration.
Also check out these 10 running motivation tips to get you started, the 9 best strength training exercises for runners, and find out what the difference is between running and rowing.
How to Break Running Shoes: Try Before You Buy
When buying new running shoes, what’s the best way to make sure they’ll work for you, your specific foot shape, and your personal running style, known as your gait?
The answer: a visit to a local specialty running store.
They will analyze your gait by watching or filming you on a treadmill or running outside. Your gait analysis will lead to several different shoe suggestions, either neutral or supportive (for those with pronation, where your ankles roll inward when your feet hit the ground).
If you try on a suggested pair of sneakers and they don’t fit, try others until you find a better fit. Getting a good fit should be number one on your list; most runners will also go up at least a half size, if not a full size, from their normal shoes to give your feet room to expand when they get hot.
Get used to the feeling
When you’ve bought your new shoes, rather than running home to see if they’ll give you 10,000 BP, put them on and walk around the house as you go about your day. Do this for a day or two, giving your feet a chance to get used to it.
This not only helps you get an idea of what they look like, but also which socks work best for shoes. Low-heeled shoes tend to “eat up” athletic socks, and it’s always best to know that before you run.
If that’s an option, take your first run on a treadmill, so the new shoes don’t get dirty. This should help if you decide to return them to a store or online store, although most brands are happy to give you up to several months to decide if their shoes are right for you.
Walking around in your new sneakers also gives a good idea of any potential hot spots, such as on the inner and outer metatarsals on the wide area of the soles of the feet. Wear your new shoes at different times of the day as they can swell as they warm up.
When you’re ready, start with a gentle jog rather than a speed session and make sure you haven’t planned a longer run. Go no further than 5km for the first few runs, or until you’re at 100% you’ve fully broken them in. This will help you avoid sudden problems like a blister, and if you have one, you can easily walk home. .
Avoid planning an hour’s drive to your local forest for a weekend run until you’re sure your new shoes fit your feet.
Keep your old shoes so you can alternate them with new ones for the first few weeks. You give your feet a better chance of adapting to new shoes without a problem, while keeping them fresher for longer. Rotating shoes also helps reduce injuries because different shoe shapes more evenly distribute the impact forces you feel every time your feet hit the ground.
Technical running socks will also make your feet happier when breaking shoes. Wearing slightly thicker socks for the first few runs can help prevent hot spots. Make sure your socks have padded areas in the toes and heels. If you’ve tried all of these options and the fit is still bothering you, consider changing the laces or adding an insole.
Classic expo excitement
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is buying your new shoes at your race show and then running them the next day. The potential for misery is worse in longer runs, like marathons, but your feet won’t feel great even after running a 5K or 10K race.
You have no guarantee that your feet will be completely comfortable in these new shoes, no matter how amazing they look. This could lead to a lot of blood and pain, so hold off for another run when you’ve already run them in.
Find your favorites
There are brands that will naturally suit your feet more and once you figure out which ones you will find that you can go running with them straight from the box. You may even find that you’ve gotten so used to a certain model that you can confidently run longer with them brand new – for me, I can do that with several different Hoka models. like the amazing Hoka Mach 4 because the fit and cushioning makes it feel like it was made just for me.
Obviously this is going to be different for every runner, but over time you will find the shoes that feel like a slipper to you.
Shoes that offer plush models, such as Brooks and Saucony, can be much easier to use for the first few miles than minimalist running shoes that are stripped down and offer little support or cushioning in the upper. Shoes that provide a more “luxurious” ride are likely to create fewer problems.
It’s something you have to work out on your own, because every rider is so different. One person’s dream shoe is another runner’s nightmare! It’s so individual and if you’re investing a lot of money in just one item in your running wardrobe, you need to get what looks good on you, not what looks best on Instagram.
There is no doubt that carbon plates, minimalist shoes and barefoot shoes all need a lot longer to adapt. If you’ve opted for one of these types of trainers, try running with short bursts of easy running for the first few weeks, to allow your feet, Achilles, and calves to adjust to a new way of moving.
The best solution to all these possible problems? Find your dream shoe and keep buying it. Chances are, if you’ve found a trainer your feet love, it’ll be easier to break it in a few runs than an unknown brand.